It’s not an easy time to venture out into the working world. Jobs in many industries are few and far between and financial forecasts are a little grim. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t build – and live – your dream. Perhaps you’ve never taken the chances you always wanted to, or you just feel you’re in the wrong job. Either way, now is actually a good time to look at new career options.
There are numerous ways to finance a career change in your 20s. If you’re lucky enough to have access to the bank of mum and dad then that always helps. However, that’s not the only option. We’ve found plenty of alternatives to help set you on the right road to success.
A grant is essentially ‘free money.’ It’s a payment from an organisation – often a charitable trust – that can be used for a purpose. That purpose is usually something like paying for education or training. The Prince’s Trust is a fantastic organisation for young people looking to take control and offers numerous grants. Whether you want funding for learning or you’re looking for a business grant, this is the place to come. For example, the Trust helps 18-30 year olds to take a business idea and make it happen through the Enterprise program. This includes training and mentoring, as well as access to funding to get a new venture off the ground.
If you’re looking to retrain in a specific trade then scholarships may help you to do it. Scholarships have been designed to help pay for education and training. They are usually offered by an organisation within an industry to help new talent enter that industry. The Savoy Educational Trust, for example, offers scholarships to young people working in, or entering, the catering trade. Scholarships are available up to £5,500 from the Savoy Educational Trust. Many other trusts and charities also offer work and training based scholarships so they are worth researching. This is a great way to fund a career change or development, as there is no requirement to pay the money back.
If you’re considering interning and you need cash to cover expenses, or you want to pay for a course or qualification, a loan can be helpful. Personal loans come in all shapes and sizes, from payday loans to long term loans. Obviously, the one key difference with loans is that they must be repaid, unlike a grant or scholarship. Choose a loan with affordable repayments that you can borrow over a period of time that suits you. Make sure that you have some way of repaying the loan, whether that’s income, benefits or expenses repayment. If your credit record is in bad shape, or non-existent, there are still options. Guarantor loans, for example, area available to those who don’t have perfect credit.
Part time work
Many people who choose a career change – at any age – end up studying/training and working part time to fund it. It’s almost impossible to work full time while attempting to make a career switch but part time work makes this possible. While there are always plenty of part time jobs available in bars, coffee shops and call centres, these aren’t the only options. Try to choose a part time job in the industry you want to enter. This can create networking opportunities, as well as boosting your CV. It will also make you feel like everything you’re doing is working towards your new career goal. Libraries, theatres, charities, digital agencies and events businesses are just a few of the organisations where opportunities might lie.
It used to be the case that the best interns could hope for was having travel expenses covered. That’s, thankfully, no longer the case. Many businesses now recognise that interns need to be paid too. While you won’t be earning six figures as an intern – or even a standard wage – paid intern-ships will at least cover your costs. If you can secure a paid intern-ship then you can usually avoid borrowing or having to work a second job at the same time. However, as you might expect, competition for paid intern-ships is fierce. Expect many different hoops to jump through during the application process. This is particularly the case if you’re aiming for an industry like fashion journalism or PR. Intern-ships are often advertised and recruited six, or 12, months in advance. Be prepared to make a strong application well before the time in which you want to start the work.
Oliver Jones has written for Solution Loans since 2015. His passion for personal finance comes through in the 150+ blog posts he's written since that time. His talent for explaining all things money means he's covered topics as diverse as...Read more about Oliver Jones